Last thoughts ahead of “Soft launch” tomorrow

As I bet most of yo already know by now we will hopefully be able to launch our experiment on the REXUS 10 rocket tomorrow. The launch is scheduled as a “soft launch” meaning that if something would go wrong during the count down then the launch will be cancelled. In a normal case a countdown might just have been kept on hold for a similar problem until it have been fixed. This means that at least I am quite nervous right now, I´m quite sure that the coming night won´t give as much rest as I would like to but I´ll really try to sleep as much as possible.

As a last teaser ahead of tomorrows scheduled launch I´d like to share some of my pictures from today including the team picture in front of the REXUS 10 rocket as well as some pictures of the return of the REXUS 9 payload.

Space ..there we go!!!

Written by Monica

Today is the last day of the first week of the Launch Campaing…that means it is also a special Sunday….many events…..they would put the nosecone to the rocket that means SQUID would be covered and we wouldn’t see it again until we recovered after mission 🙂 …. so we wanted to be at that moment but until then we had some free time so what we did was to go to the marvelous ICE HOTEL..we had access to the art rooms and they are amazing… a bit cold 🙂 but different from last year….you could see some photos .. then after been impressed by the hotel we came back to the ESRANGE but what was our surprise than we not only encounter a group of three reindeer but also another group with four of them …it was very nice to see them running along with us….but of course one needs to be careful….it is very dangerous to crash with them ..and actually we found in the side road a dead reindeer 😦 ..

Then after we return to ESRANGE we had a meeting were the team leaders should explain why your experiment was ready to FLIGHT!!…of course before being able to confirm that…we had a discussion previous the meeting.  We found out 3 major problems in SQUID during this week (1.GPS position, 2.Communication between RMU and FFU and 3. SCALE behavior), but thanks to a group work and dedication we solved them without setbacks and we feel quite confident our SQUID will perform successfully 😀 …then finally Gustav sign the papers where he as a representative of SQUID team say SQUID IS READY TO FLIGHT!!! and as Olle Persson said all we are WINNERS because we arrive to this point 🙂

So the activities ended and we deciide to relax a bit and watch some movies….so then we can start the most exciting and slowly week!!

Final assembly madness

Yesterday was the day when we had to finish the experiment in order to be mounted on the rocket. So more than finished, it shall be FINISHED. Quite a challenging task for us with the different problems we usually have whenever we try to do some similar to mounting the whole thing. From the previous post you should be aware that we were having a very long night, which ended up at 6.30 in the morning. Everything was going quite well, mounting was in progress, the problem with the GPS was solved, SCALES were put together and working etc. But when we mounted the FFU on the RMU a new problem popped up: lack of communication. The preload of the ejection spring was making the gap between the FFU and RMU too big for the umbilical pins, which were unable to have a proper connection with the e-box. This was a massive problem, as if we were not able to speak with the FFU when mounted in the rocket, we would be unable to send the mission mode command and we would fly a dead experiment.

We started analyzing different options, and we even started filing down the umbilical plates in order to be able to move the pins further up, allowing a proper communication. Mikko also came with the idea of modifying the pins in order to increase their length. They would not look as pretty but seemed to be a reliable solution. But we were extremely tired at the time after the 22 hour work day, and as we had to work later in the morning, we decided to go to bed and sleep a couple of hours.

What happened afterwards was a bit confusing. It was decided that some people should try to sleep a bit longer in order to go to the workplace later on and be more fresh. I was one of them, and I was supposed to be there at 10. However, my alarm did not went on (or i was so asleep that i didnt even hear it) and I was woken up at 12 by Georg and Gustav, claiming that it was lunchtime and that all the problems were solved. The pins of the FFU were made longer following Mikko’s solution and that the whole assembly was completely finished, so it was a pretty good way to start the day.

The rest of the day was much more relaxed, we mounted the experiment into the rocket, checked communication almost every time we touched the experiment and fix the last details (putting connectors to the service module and pyro cutter, securing cables etc etc.) After that, dinner, sauna and beer and long sleep.

Mario

SCALE systems and further tests

So the launch campaign continues here at Erange. It is now Friday night and the testing continues. Today another three bench tests have been performed and they all went well. Our experiment is working fine with the other experiments and the rocket module.

This morning, hopefully, we made the final tests with the wire boom, SCALE, systems and they are mounted and prepared for the hot bench test where all the scale systems will be tested one final time. During the hot bench test the pyrocutter will be activated and that will test the mechanism for the FFU deployment.

The testing of the wire boom mechanism has continued during this week and we’ve had both success and setbacks. We are working hard at testing the different systems and the GPS and wire booms have given us some extra challenges. The four wire booms have to work at the same time deploying the same amount of wire. The systems are supposed to deploy about 90 cm of cable but for some of them it only deploys about 60 cm before the motor stats to stalling. We have been testing and testing and now feel we have reached some results. The friction in the system has always been a point for improvement but we are now confident we have made some progress. The result so far on the wire boom systems are that they work more than half of the time and we will pray and keep our fingers crossed that the systems will work at launch.

It is now after midnight and we are working hard to make sure the experiment will be ready for the payload assembly tomorrow morning. The hot flight simulation earlier this evening went o but we still have some work to get ready for launch.

Cross your fingers for us and read the blog for the coming week.

Launch campaign episode 2

So the clock is now 00:20 am and of course it would not be a launch campaign without problems and late nights. When testing the SCALE systems it turned out they were not operating as previously and the deployment got interrupted in some of the units. So now we are working in order to fix it. Only problem is that this time we are not at KTH and the launch campaign is not “soon” but now and the deadlines are for real. So the team just kicked in the 45:th gear, poured yet a cup of black “wake up” magic liquid, polished the fog out of our eyes and stomped on the gas. We’re going on fumes here so lets hope we really get all the way.

In the meantime enjoy episode 2 of the launch campaign now including the road trip from KTH to Esrange and Monday at Esrange.

Launch campaign, Tuesday

So, now the launch campaign has officially started. All the teams have arrived, the “church” is really crowded and we do have a lack of chairs, power outlets and network connections. Not to mention that we are short of working space.

However it feels cosy and with the outside temperature it feels really nice to have enough people in here to keep the assembly hall warm.

We have conducted our last landing system test by putting the system it in a vacuum chamber and making sure that the pressure sensor and the oven cutter work in a proper way.This was done under time pressure, as there were still some things to be sorted out with the rocket service module and they found out that they needed us on the spot when we had just left for the test. On the other hand it was actually really tricky to find a feasible power outlet for the test because the building there is taken by the French from CNES and thus most of the power outlets there were french at the moment. Eventually the pressure test went really well and the top plate ejected as it should at the matching pressure for 5500 metres.

In the evening we prepared the SCALES with the flight cable and conducted a couple of tests in order to be sure they work.

Unfortunately Mikko and I were missing out on the sauna as we are accommodated in Kiruna and this means a one hour ride from Esrange. We almost had an accident with a reindeer instead.

Preparations and departure for launch campaign

So I am currently writing this message in the empty SQUID-room at SPP, KTH, the clock is 11:12 and the experiment is packed and the team is ready to travel to Kiruna in the SQUID-mobile. We look forward towards a great launch campaign and hope everything will turn out well for everyone.

See this latest video about the preparations and check the youtube channel frequently, daily updates are planned.